The Serial Squadron Cinema Cliffhanger Archive


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The Spider's Web
✦✦✦✦ (1938, 15 Chapters)
Warren Hull, Iris Meredith
D: Ray Taylor, J. Horne

The mysterious white-robed Octopus raids one industry after another in a systematic grab for power. The Spider, a masked vigilante who looks upon the underworld as his own private shooting gallery, is feared by criminals and civilians alike. When these two powerful figures fight to destroy each other, the result is bloody mayhem. An exciting pulp story come to life, packed with non-stop action.
Influenced: All pulp-avenger-style serials and films which followed, including the Darkman series. The Spider was the first costumed pulp character to appear on a movie screen.

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Transfer Quality: From 16mm; transfer quality excellent, very sharp picture, stabilized, exposure-corrected, with normalized and noise-reduced audio
DVD Contents: 2 DVDs; 15 Chapters

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Captain America
✦✦✦✦ (Republic, 15 Chapters)
Dick Purcell, Adrian Booth, Lionel Atwill
D: John English, E. Clifton

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A serial killer known as “the Scarab” drives former members of an archaeological expedition to suicide using “purple death” poison. Relentless District Attorney Grant Gardner decides he’s going to go after the fiend dressed as a comic book character, gets ahold of a Captain America costume missing its shield and boots and he and his trusted secretary Gail Richards work hard to put a stop to the Scarab's seemingly never-ending crime spree related to his quest for Mayan treasure.
Influenced: Captain America, The Avengers films
DVD Extras: Stills/memorabilia/character history slideshows with music, interview with Captain America collector Wade Shaw
Transfer Quality: From two 16mm prints, very good quality, restored audio; this is the transfer many have copied and even posted online which looks much better in the original. Thc Chapter 1 opening is included on all the chapters on Disk 1. The secondary opening appears on chapters in Disk 2 (this was done to allow the entire serial and extras to fit on 2 disks without loss of quality)

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The Vanishing Shadow
✦✦✦✦ (Universal, 12 Chapters)
Onslow Stevens, Walter Miller, Ada Ince
D: Louis Friedlander

Stanley Stanfield seeks to right the wrongs done by corrupt businessman Wade Barnett to his father using a device created by local genius and robot-maker Professor Van Dorn which when strapped to his body can make him invisible but for his shadow. Barnett’s daughter joins Stanfield in opposing her conniving father and his gang. Full-quality restored edition, never before made available in DVD quality. This is the original high-quality first-generation transfer of this title.
Influenced: The Shadow radio series

Transfer Quality: Sharp digital transfer from high quality stable original film print. Excellent quality picture and sound throughout.
DVD Contents:
Complete serial

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The Lost Special
✦✦✦ (Universal, 12 Chapters)
Frank Albertson, Cecelia Parker
D: Henry MacRae

After the local police have failed to discover its location, college adventurers Tom Hood and Bob Collins and reporter Betty Moore think they can find a train which has disappeared without a trace.

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Transfer Quality: Restored from videotape source. Print quality is excellent with no scratches, artifacts, or splices. Transfer quality is not great; image is stable but focus is soft and contrast is sometimes OK sometimes not. Ch. 11 is grainy and has been partially smoothed. Audio restored to remove 95% of hiss; some auto-level artifacts remain; missing sound at end of Ch. 8 replaced. General effect is average old VHS quality with strong sound.

DVD Contents: Complete serial

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The Blue Beetle
Featuring Frank Lovejoy

24 Complete stories, noise-reduced and with enhanced fidelity; Dolby digital sound -- 9 Hours of content

Sweeping down upon the underworld to smash gangland comes a friend of the unfortunate, enemy of criminals, the mysterious all-powerful character who is a problem to the police, a crusader for law! In reality Dan Garrett, a rookie patrolman, loved by everyone but suspected by none of being . . . the Blue Beetle. As the Blue Beetle, he hides behind a strange mask and a suit of impenetrable blue chain armor, flexible as silk but stronger than steel!

Each episode is a complete story in itself; the originally 2-part stories have been conveniently presented as single half-hour format shows. BTW, we did the restoration work on these files which have since been copied by others; this disk is the original, not a copy.

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Episode titles
1 Origin of the Blue Beetle/The Opium Gang
2 Sabotage and Liquidation
3 Murder for Profit
4 Blasting the Dynamite Gang
5 The Invisible Ghost
6 Death Rides on Horseback
7 Death Strikes from the East
8 The Sea Serpent
9 The Frame-up
10 Spirits Don't Talk
11 Thoroughbreds Always Come Through
12 Smashing the Arson Ring
13 Rounding Up the Payroll Bandits
14 Crime Incorporated
15 Saved By a Hair
16 Finesse in Diamonds
17 Sabotage Incorporated
18 Smashing the Restaurant Racket
19 Two Rackets in One
20 The Underworld Goes Underground
21 Dancing Ghost of Rocky Hill
22 The Whale of Pirates' Folly
23 The Asylum of Dr. Drear
24 The Jewel Mystery of Channel Island
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Adventures of Frank Merriwell
✦✦✦✦ (Universal, 12 Chapters)
Don Briggs, Jean Rogers

In production
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The Flame Fighter
In Production